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Another False Claim by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and NRDC  

A January 18, 2007, press release from the wind industry’s Washington DC lobbyists, AWEA, repeats exaggerated claims on behalf of “wind energy” and includes quotes from several advocacy organizations. (The press release is entitled, “Wind Big Part Of Solution To Global Warming: Trade Group, Environmental Organizations.” [1])

One quote in particular stands out because it is so blatantly false. It is attributed to the Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Air and Energy program and includes the following: “And thanks to technological breakthroughs, [wind energy] is a cost competitive, pollution-free alternative to new coal or gas fired power plants.” Two points should be noted:

First, electricity from wind is NOT “cost competitive” when its true costs are counted. Widely available facts now make it very clear that:

· Electricity from wind is inherently expensive, particularly because of high capital costs.

· Electricity from wind has less value than electricity from reliable (“dispatchable”) generating plants because electricity from wind is intermittent, volatile, and unreliable.

· Wind energy advocates often ignore both the huge tax breaks and other subsidies provided to “wind farm” owners and the cost of providing backup power for the unreliable wind units, all of which are a part of the true cost of electricity from wind.

· Wind energy advocates also like to ignore the serious adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts of the huge,(30-40 story) wind turbines.

· “Wind farms” are now being built principally because of the tax benefits that flow to “wind farm” owners ““ not because of energy or environmental benefits.

Second, the NRDC is WRONG in its claim that electricity from wind is an “alternative to new coal or gas fired power plants.” Wind turbines cannot be relied on to produce electricity when the demand for electricity reaches peak levels; i.e., on hot weekday summer afternoons. Instead, wind turbines are most likely to produce at night and in winter when winds are strongest and when electricity demand tends to be low. This severe limitation of wind turbines was clearly demonstrated this past summer when electric grids experienced peak demand.

Wind energy is NOT an alternative to building generating plants that can be called upon to produce electricity when needed; i.e., “dispatchable” generating units. Generating units that meet this crucial test are those relying on energy from coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear energy, hydropower, wood and other biomass, municipal waste, and geothermal energy ““ but NOT wind.

In areas where electricity demand is growing or where old plants must be replaced, reliable generating units will have to be built ““ whether or not wind turbines are present in those areas. If wind turbines are built, electric customers in those areas may end up paying twice; once for the electricity from wind and again for the reliable generating units that will be required anyway.

Glenn R. Schleede, 18220 Turnberry Court , Round Hill , VA 20141 ; 540-338-9958

[1] http://www.awea. org/newsroom/ releases/ wind_big_ part_of_solution _global_warming_ 011807.html

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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